Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘autopilot’

“Is this the end of productivity?” — AUTOPILOT featured in New York

Monday, May 18th, 2020
Amid the pandemic, workers whose jobs once defined their lives are questioning what it was all for.

Read the full article here.


Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

This obsession with productivity and business is actually very counterproductive.

To listen to the full program, visit the BBC.

ANDREW SMART author of AUTOPILOT answers questions about stress, work, and drugs on Reddit

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Jpvicente: What are the primary effects of “workaholism” on our brains? Does it actually make you less intelligent? Is there a optimal point where we can dedicate ourselfs to work without having a negative impact on our cognition? Great theme btw, very interesting stuff

andrewthesmart:Thank you! Thanks for AingMA. My book talks about what is called the brain’s default mode network. This was discovered about 15 years ago by accident. When subjects were laying in the brain scanner just daydreaming, researchers noticed a spike in activity in a brain network that actually deactivated during demanding cognitive tasks. Since then hundreds of papers have published about the default mode network. It turns out that our brains need to be allowed to space out to process memories, and maintain emotional health. Working all the time suppresses activity in the default mode network, and over time this leads to all kinds of negative effects – poor concentration, memory loss, forgetfulness, and less creativity.

There was a study that showed checking your email 30-40 times an hour leads to a 10 point loss in IQ. There are now many studies that show multitasking and long working hours severely reduce cognitive performance on all kinds of tasks.

I don’t know about an optimal point where we do not have negative cognitive and emotional effects from work. But one thing is clear – we work far too much. And in fact I would argue it makes us much less productive!

Read the full AMA on Reddit


Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Underlying curiosity is this sense of not having the fear of the unfamiliar and the ability to cope with the unfamiliar. It’s this tension between curiosity being met by one or many of our avoidance instincts. It’s important to be aware of these hard-wired avoidance instincts and do the opposite of what they tell you. We have a hard-wired instinct to run from surprise and uncertainty. One theory of the brain’s global function is that it is always trying to reduce surprise. The instinct tells us it’s dangerous, but our environment is very different now. In our current culture we mostly do not have to worry about surprise from predators.

Read the full article at Forbes.

AUTOPILOT author Andrew Smart gives a radio interview to Lean Freak Show

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Since Andrew lives out of the country, there was a huge time difference between us. We did the interview at 5:30am EST. I believe it was about noon Andrew’s time. I really enjoyed meeting Andrew. He is a very smart and humble guy who takes his research very seriously. I was intrigued by the subject matter. I had never heard anything like this before. Check out the interview and the book below. They are definitely worth a listen and a read.

Listen to the full interview at Lean Freak Show.

Forbes writes on ANDREW SMART and the science of idleness

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Andrew Smart wants you to take a break—sit and do nothing. We’re taught that taking on more is better—it makes us more valuable. The reality is that doing too many things makes us less efficient. Andrew argues that our “culture of effectiveness” is not only ineffective, but it can be harmful to your well-being.

Andrew says that in order to be more creative and more engaged, we need to unplug. Be idle. Sounds interesting, right? This theory, backed by science, is a great discovery for free thinkers. Encouraging creativity by doing “nothing” means we have a lot to look forward too—and less to apologize for.

Read the full article at Forbes.

CNN talks productivity, AUTOPILOT, and ANDREW SMART

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Though Protestant work ethic-driven Americans have tended to worry about the devil holding sway in idle time, it turns out idle time is crucial for creativity, innovation and breakthrough thinking. And now we know why. Neuroscience is finding that when we are idle, our brains are most active.

It all has to do with something called the brain’s default mode network, explains Andrew Smart, a human factors research scientist and author of the new book, “Autopilot, the Art & Science of Doing Nothing.”

Read the full article at

ANDREW SMART discusses AUTOPILOT on Less is More Podcast

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Andrew Smart joins us to talk about his new book, Auto-Pilot / More dog-fights in a complacent market / Mindfulness gives stressed-out bankers something to think about / Music this week from Posse.

Listen to the interview at Less is More Podcast.

Radio New Zealand talks AUTOPILOT with author Andrew Smart

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Andrew Smart is a neuroscience researcher and the author of Autopilot. He explains the art and science of being idle as a necessary means to creativity and greater productivity.

Listen to the full program at Radio New Zealand.

AUTOPILOT author Andrew Smart interviewed for Alpha Efficiency Magazine‘s latest issue

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Andrew Smart is the author of Autopilot, a fascinating book that puts forward the scientific arguments for doing less and being “idle” more of the time. I read Autopilot as part of my 2014 Reading List and I was fascinated by its topic, particularly the idea of a “resting state network” – an area of your brain that theory suggests could be critical to creativity and memory retention – which activates when you’re at rest. Andrew is also very outspoken about productivity and time management techniques, which I’m keen to explore with him to see whether Bojan and I fall into the category of “time management evangelists” that he vilifies in his book.

Read the interview at Alpha Efficiency Magazine.

ANDREW SMART talks to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about the art and science of idleness

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

We all need to be idle– right now! Neuroscientific evidence argues that in order to function normally, our brains also need to be idle—a lot of the time.

Authors, Oliver Burkeman and Andrew Smart explore the art and science of doing nothing.

Listen to the full interview at

AUTOPILOT versus the cult of productivity in The New Republic

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

According to Andrew Smart’s book Autopilot, recent (but still controversial) brain research recommends that we stare vacantly into space more often. “Neuroscientific evidence argues that your brain needs to rest, right now,” Smart declares on the first page. (It took me a long time to finish the book, because I kept putting it down to have a break.)

Smart’s evidence suggests the existence of a “default network”, in which the brain gets busy talking to itself in the absence of an external task to focus on. To allow this “default network” to do its thing by regularly loafing around rather than switching focus all day between futile bits of work, Smart argues, is essential for the brain’s health. “For certain things the brain likes to do (for example, coming up with creative ‘outside of the box’ solutions),” he writes, “you may need to be doing very little.”

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Smart observes, was not very “productive” in terms of the quantity of poems he produced in an average year. However, while pootling away his time, he occasionally experienced a torrent of inspiration and what he did produce were works of greatness.

Read the full article at The New Republic.

The New Statesman discusses AUTOPILOT and the culture of productivity

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Recently, I saw a man on the Tube wearing a Nike T-shirt with a slogan that read, in its entirety, “I’m doing work”. The idea that playing sport or doing exercise needs to be justified by calling it a species of work illustrates the colonisation of everyday life by the devotion to toil: an ideology that argues cunningly in favour of itself in the phrase “work ethic”.

We are everywhere enjoined to work harder, faster and for longer – not only in our jobs but also in our leisure time. The rationale for this frantic grind is one of the great unquestioned virtues of our age: “productivity”. The cult of productivity seems all-pervasive. Football coaches and commentators praise a player’s “work rate”, which is thought to compensate for a lack of skill. Geeks try to streamline their lives in and out of the office to get more done. People boast of being busy and exhausted and eagerly consume advice from the business-entertainment complex on how to “de-fry your burnt brain”, or engineer a more productive day by assenting to the horror of breakfast meetings.

Read the full article at the New Statesman.

BEAUTIFUL TROUBLE and AUTOPILOT featured in The Airship‘s best books of 2013

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

For your sister who scorned all the people who came down to Occupy Wall Street hoping to see Thom Yorke, a pocket-sized guide for revolution: Beautiful Trouble

For your girlfriend who has a subscription to Psychology Today, and takes pride in slacking off every now and then, a cutting-edge collection on the science of being idle: Autopilot

Read the full list at The Airship.

The Idler Academy hosts Andrew Smart of AUTOPILOT for a symposium on doing nothing

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

WHEN A BOOK called Auto-Pilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing popped through the Idler Academy’s letterbox, we sat up and took notice. At last, here was the scientific explanation behind the power of idleness.

We immediately invited the author to give a talk on his work, and now Andrew Smart is coming over from his home in Switzerland to address an audience at a one-off Idler Academy symposium.

Read the full details at the Idler.

Andrew Smart’s AUTOPILOT is reviewed by Popular Science UK

Friday, September 27th, 2013

This handy little book explains the importance of regularly taking time to do nothing in particular, to put work and study to one side, switch off, and allow our brains to function on autopilot. By doing this, author Andrew Smart explains, we’ll be smarter, more creative, and improve our mental health.

Read the full review at Popular Science UK.

The Independent features AUTOPILOT in article on paid holidays

Monday, September 9th, 2013

And the latest science suggests the brain actually needs idling time. A recent publication by research scientist Andrew Smart called Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing defends idleness. By doing nothing, he says, you activate what is called the brain’s “default mode network” and it gets busy repairing itself.

Read the entire article at The Independent.

Evgeny Morozov reviews AUTOPILOT at Slate

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

From Smart’s perspective, lifehacking is far too utilitarian. A faithful lifehacker would use technology to avoid dead time and move on to the entertaining, more gratifying activities as soon as possible. Smart, in contrast, demands more dead time. He does want you to “hack your life”—but in a way that smacks less of Taylorism and more of Buddhist contemplation. Instead of “doing more with more,” we must “do less with less.” Intriguingly, if Smart’s science is correct, doing less might actually be the best way to accomplish more.

Read the full article at Slate.

Enough podcast discusses AUTOPILOT

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

It makes a very interesting scientific case for doing nothing, like doing nothing as a strategy. Like being idle as something that is inherently healthy and good for you. I think it’s a very interesting counter-proposal to the many, you know, getting-things-done and how-to-cram-as-much-in-your-day-as-possible.

Listen to the discussion, beginning around the eleven-minute mark, at 70Decibels.

Switch & Shift runs an excerpt of AUTOPILOT by Andrew Smart

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

If you have a job at any sizable company there is a good chance you’ve been forced to endure Six Sigma training, or at least some watered-down derivative. Your instructor may have reminded you, as mine did, of a newly converted religious fanatic prosely­tizing his faith. Imagine a cross between a Scientologist and a Jehovah’s Witness, tastefully attired in business casual.

According to an official account, Six Sigma is an organized and systematic method for strategic process improvement, plus new product and service development, that relies on statistical methods and the scientific method to make dramatic reductions in customer-defined defect rates.

Read the full excerpt at Switch & Shift.

The Right to Be Lazy reviews AUTOPILOT

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Smart establishes the scientific case for idling the brain to glean the benefits of doing nothing. What he presents is a remarkable, and seemingly counter-intuitive, discovery in neuroscience research that shows the brain at rest is actually expending more energy than when it is on task. While there is no unanimity among scientists on this subject – the research is relatively recent (and depends on an understanding of complexity theory to fully comprehend) – Smart’s very readable explanation of the science involved, coupled with pages of references at the back of the book, convinces.

Read the full review at The Right to Be Lazy


Verified by MonsterInsights